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How bad is leaving change as part of the tip?

I was at a super busy restaurant for lunch. The tab came to under $18 and I only had two 20's. The waitress was slammed and I didn't see her for a while and had to get back to work. I left a $20 and $2 in change. I don't do that normally. Is it better to wait and create more work for her or is change fine? FWIW, it was quarters not pennies.

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  1. Of course it's fine. It's money. Years ago, a waitress friend of mine said she was always flattered when she got tipped in change, even pennies, because it seemed like the customer was emptying his wallet for her.

    5 Replies
    1. re: small h

      That's good to know. I was wondering about their having to carry loose change.

      1. re: chowser

        Many restaurants today require the servers to carry a *bank* and settle the checks with their customers. Many servers don't come prepared and need the help of other servers to get needed cash to make their banks, or replenish them when needed. The money is carried usually carried in a bank deposit bag, so carrying change should not be a problem.

        1. re: fourunder

          That's the rule in Europe, but I've never seen it in the US - and that includes foodie-centric San Francisco. They also carry hand-held credit card readers, so your card never leaves your sight.

          Back to the OP: money's money.

          1. re: tardigrade

            I've not generally seen that in the part of Europe where I live, nor in the parts I visit regularly. Happens occasionally that a server carries change but it is a rarity.

          2. re: fourunder

            That's what I was thinking this whole thread - when my husabnd was back in school and waiting tables, he always had to scrounge up a "bank", which sometimes meant raiding the penny jar, my purse, etc. so he could provide change to the customers. (Here in the U.S., for the record.) It was only a problem if the first table paid with a $50 or $100 and wiped them out right off the bat.

      2. I'll frequently use small change as part of tip to cover the < $1 portion of the check so the server receives a rounded dollar amount.

        In your specific example, you mad an effort to increase and leave an appropriate tip. It was better than not leaving the extra $2..

        3 Replies
        1. re: fourunder

          I do that, too--leave enough to cover the change portion. Not leaving enough tip wouldn't have been an option. I was thinking of the trade off between time and leaving bills vs quickly leaving and giving coins.

          1. re: chowser

            I would have no problem leaving a roll of quarters as a $10 tip.....whether I was in a hurry, or not....even if I had a $10 spot on me.

            1. re: fourunder

              That reminds me of someone I heard on the radio who left a small winning lottery ticket, about $25 which was far more than the tip. He said he didn't have enough cash and didn't want to charge the whole amount.

          1. I remember my father leaving a single penny placed on top of the cash tip (in those days, always cash) to let the waitress (in those days, always waitresses) know he considered her service better than average. For terrible service, he said you would leave only the penny. If you left nothing, the waitress might think you just "forgot".

            1 Reply
            1. re: grampart

              I've not thought of that approach to tipping in YEARS. Good grief...I had family members that did it.

              There were also rules about whom you tipped and whom you didn't (outside restaurant work). Your mechanic might get your car back up & running in a hurry but, to tip him in the Old Days, was believed to be an Insult. "You'd as lief tip a lawyer" went the line.

              Well, that was long ago...

            2. Why would it be 'bad'? She can change it out when she's slowed down.
              You were in a hurry.
              She was busy.
              Change is more than fine.
              It's money.

              1. I doubt whether any server would give a flying one about how the tip is made up.

                1. I side on the "money is money" argument, but in all honesty, in the US change is, er, change. Paper money is what people see as a proper tip.

                  1. Its worth the same and money is money.
                    Considerate of you to leave change instead of shorting her tip and just leaving....

                    1. I think it's fine.

                      Side story - I once tipped a pizza delivery driver $5 in dollar coins. His face fell as I handed him the coins (I assume he thought they were quarters). I hope he felt better once he got into his car and realized what I had handed him. :-/

                      He was young. I assume he'll grow older and realize he's going to get sh*tty tips which he should smile and accept regardless.

                      1. in my book, you were fine.

                        1. If I'm dining alone in cheaper places, a few singles and whatever loose change I have left is my usual tip. In casino restaurants, I'll leave chips if I have them.

                            1. re: treb

                              I agree with the "money is money" thing, but it's a matter of courtesy - if you have $1 bill it will be preferred over 4 quarters any day...

                              1. re: SamuelAt

                                Exactly. And I wouldn't have left change if I had smaller coins than quarters. I wouldn't have left a bunch of dimes/nickels/pennies. But even quarters I wonder about because they could get hard to manage.

                                1. re: SamuelAt

                                  I think it's a matter of leaving a good tip for good service, if that includes coins, so be it. I don't think I'm any less courteous for it. If coin money is hard to manage, please call me, I'll be more than glad to take them off your hands.

                                  1. re: SamuelAt

                                    In Canada we have one and two dollar coins rather than bills so I tip with them all the time if I am paying cash, especially for smaller orders. Today I got a couple of bahn mi to go for $8 and left a dollar coin on the counter for the lady who made them.

                                2. Tipping in pennies - just plain mean. Tipping in quarters - that's just the way life is sometimes! As long as you leave enough of them and don't shortchange your wait person, what's the worry - money is money in the end.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Kajikit

                                    "Tipping in pennies - just plain mean."

                                    I would say it would be very odd. Let's say the tip is in the $5-10 range. That's a lot of pennies. Would any sane person carry around $10 in pennies?

                                    If I pay cash, I usually leave enough dollar bills to give a generous tip and if there is change in the form of coins, quarters, pennies, whatever, I usually leave that as well since I don't care much for carrying around coins.

                                    1. Ending your shift with about 5 lbs of coin in your pockets...it seems just like the other day...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: 3MTA3

                                        That's exactly what I was wondering--is it better for me to wait and get bills so the server has extra work to do, or to just leave change but know the server will be carrying it around.

                                        When my son was younger, we had no bills from the tooth fairy so we left him a handful of change. We joked about the tooth fairy trying to fly around w/ bags of coins.

                                      2. Laundry, parking meters, the air machine at the gas station, vending machines, you can even turn them into rings.

                                        Quarters are pretty handy. I've never known anyone that waited tables to mind having quarters around.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                          I'd be skeptical of someone who didn't want to have ANY kind of money around.